Small Business Success: What We Can Learn from a Good HairStylist

small business tips from a hairstylistThose that know me know that I'm a big believer in taking time to rejuvenate so we can reinvigorate our life and business. Today I had an amazing day out doing a little mama pampering. I hit the gym in the a.m., afternoon was filled with a new hair “do”, new nails, time with friends and family & even a jaunt to the local mall.

I hit a creative wall the past few days and couldn't get myself to finish any of the million blog posts half written in outline form on my iPhone, iPad and Evernote. I  definitely wasn't feeling inspired to start anything brand new.

Funny what a day out to rejuvenate with no kids screaming or begging for anything will do. Now my brain is exploding with ideas and I have a feeling the next few weeks should be pretty good on the blog content front.

After leaving my hairstylist today it really hit me that there is a lot we can learn from a good hair stylist. The purpose of this post is to tell you exactly why I believe this. Let's not waste any time and get started now!

18 Facts About My Hairstylist & Her Business 

1. Her name is Heather. She is in her early 40's,  fun and full of energy. She exudes a confidence that is contagious.

2. She gets all of her business from referrals.

3. She is so busy that she doesn't want any more referrals. She told me today if someone else asks me where I get my hair cut to tell them “nobody” as she literally doesn't want anymore clients.

4. She charges top dollar but is not the highest in the area. Her prices are high but fair. Even when she moved to a salon with cheaper booth rental she did not lower her prices.

5. She has never made me wait more than 5-10 minutes. She has never cancelled or missed an appointment. I know when I get to the salon my time booked with her is MY time. She is efficient and does not stick me between clients having to wait unless I wind up with a crunched schedule and ask for such.

6. She works her own hours, days and takes a vacation, often. She takes time off for beach days.

7. She does not answer the phone often. She does not have an appointment scheduler. She schedules her own appointments and communicates primarily via text messaging.

8. She puts her family and kids first whenever possible.

9. After having her first baby a year ago, she moved to a different salon closer to home and with a more affordable booth rental. The salon is nothing fancy and actually is in an area of town that is not that nice. It's definitely no high end looking salon. However, she lost very few clients because it is her service they come for. She made the decisions that were right for her and her business. She was confident her services would keep the clients. She was willing to let some go if they couldn't respect and support her decision.

10. She is always honest. She will never tell me something I want to hear just because I want to hear it. If she thinks a hair style will look bad on me, she tells me straight out, no beating around the bush.

11. She almost fired me as a client once because I kept moving appointments due to busy schedules. We talked openly about it and even she will tell you I have now become one of her best, most flexible clients. I changed my behavior as keeping her services was worth it!

12. She has spent much time and invested in education to have the best technical skills possible. Her natural skills was originally hair color. She speaks openly that she went to work for one of the best salons and education institutions to be trained on hair cuts. She is now both an amazing hair cutter and colorist.

13. She has natural talent that is different than her competitors. Nobody can do my hair as good as her. I will wait for her when she is on maternity leave. Last year when she went on maternity leave I tried fixing the color myself after a local hair stylist messed it up. Needless to say I wound up with orange hair and a good portion of it burnt off completely! Almost a year later, today was the first day my hair got back to the original color and is still a few inches from growing out the bangs I fried off  to the root!

14. When I messed up my hair she did clean it up without complaining. She has worked with me for almost a year to get it back in shape. However, she made it clear it wasn't something she wanted to repeat. I can tell you I won't be doing the same thing when she has her baby this September. I may be looking a bit like a cave girl come October or November. So if you see such, you'll know why! 😉

15. She is transparent and real. She shares her life ups and downs. She doesn't pretend to be somebody she is not.  Because she is so open, it helps her clients build real and authentic relationships with her built on trust and integrity.

16. She has a plan for her business. She does not manage life events, marketing, finances, salon locations randomly. Every decision she makes is planned out and based on her priorities, goals and objectives for both business and life.

17. She knows me. She knows what I want, why I want it, how much time I have to do my hair (which isn't much) and the lifestyle I lead. She knows I need to look professional in minimal time spent and delivers a style that works with my life, not the life of a magazine cover.

18. Every time I get my hair done I get a million compliments. I love sharing her name with the world, although she is so busy she no longer wants the referrals.


What Can We Take Away From Heather's Approach to Business For Our Own Business? 

1. Know your worth. Don't give your services away. Value your time and skills and your clients will too.

2. Know your clients. Know what your target and existing client wants and needs. Get in their head! Know what makes them tick. What makes them at peace with you? Waht keeps them up at night? How can you solve their problems and / or make their life better?

3. Value relationships. Referrals are everything.

social media transparency4. Be real. Let your audience, clients, partners and community get to know the real you. You don't have to have the same level of transparency with everyone. However, let your real self shine on folks!

5. Have the guts to say no & fire bad clients. Be willing to say no on taking on a new client. Be willing to fire the ones that don't bring you joy or that cause your business to suffer in other ways.

6. Know your stuff. Be the best at what you do, period.

7. Invest in education. Educate yourself.  If you know your weaknesses, then work to improve them, fast. If you have clear gaps then hire a coach or a mentor!

8. Be honest. Don't sugar coat data or analysis you need to share with clients to help them move forward. Who cares if they fire you because they don't like you telling them the truth. You are better off with 5 that want to listen to your advice and execute for success than 15 that will argue with you each step of the way and then come back to you to clean up the mess.

9. Manage your time wisely.

10. Make the hard decisions needed in business that will bring a healthy life balance and enable you to reach the “why” of your life and business goals and dreams.

11. Don't go with the flow. Heather shows us that you don't have to have the fanciest office, the fanciest Facebook page or whatever it may that your business does. Instead focus on the results and the value you offer your clients.

12. Offer unique value. Make sure your products and services stand out. I get compliments everywhere I go with my hair. I am not bragging, just stating a fact. I always tell people that I can not take credit. I give all the credit to my hairstylist. She cuts it, colors it and makes it so easy for me to do. It's literally the last thing I worry about when getting ready or dressed for even an important event.

13. Train your clients. She is different than any hairstylist I have ever worked with. She is so good that I have had to adapt to her style, her processes and her ways. Her services are worth it and I don't think twice about it.

 14. Take time to plan and avoid random acts of marketing and business. Knowing who you are, what you offer, where you are going, who your clients are and what they want is critical to  business. Plan yer plan and work yer' plan as Granny would say!

What You Say?

Does Heather sound like your hair stylist? What can we learn from Heather? What efficiencies could you add to your business with a little boost of confidence or guts? Have you went thru transitions similar to what Heather did in life that impacted business? How did you handle?


About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. jolante July 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    This post attracted my attention, Heather story sounds very much like my sister’s, who is also a hairstylist. One difference, she started her own salon just 13 months ago. And although she is still  going to the process how to manage her time wisely, all the other points you make apply to her approach. We used social to inform her network about her decision to start her own business and kept on sharing her adventure, from then on things skyrocketed. Within 3 months about 25% of her clients came via social networks. We live in Europe, the Netherlands, but the ‘crisis’ here had no effect on her businessgrowth. In fact, there is a waiting list right now. Had to wait 2 months myself to get my hair done :). She definitely has her own unique style and approach. If you want to judge for yourself you can take a peak at. and find links to her social activities there, don’t want to ‘spam’ your post with to much links. But since we live in the Netherlands…. can’t imagine anyone sane to book a planeticket to get her/his hair done, and also wait over 2 months 🙂

    • RachaelBeauty July 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

       @jolante LOL. People would. 

  2. RachaelBeauty July 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I am a Beverly Hills hairstylist and a friend of mine who does Marketing in NYC, Oz Sultan sent me this article. Great Post. I completely agree and understand the points made. It is very similar to my work ethics. I blog and hairstyle.
    Being honest is SO important, I believe. I want my clients to look and feel their best. I will not lie to just “get paid.”
    Also I LOVE number 1. Know your worth. Too many times friends and or family want free services for creative gigs. As much as I love them I really can’t afford to give freebies out at this time. Great tips! Thank you.

  3. JohnAguiar July 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

    @katmedinanino TY 🙂

  4. C_Pappas July 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Hairstylist or not, these points resonate – or they should anyways! I have seen way too many people and companies take on too much and sacrifice quality. At one company I worked for, the founders wanted to sell their product so badly, that they started letting the customers tell them what to do (as in modify the product for each of them). They discounted on everything until budget’s met and they had so many versions of the product that we were often flailing. I kept saying ‘we need to say no to these people and find a fit’. We knew our market was out there because we had done the research, there was no reason for this. (maybe greed??). Alas, it was a great experience for me to witness and get the heck out of!

  5. Go Inspire Beauty July 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Great points on making business, ANY business,  personal.
    As a Salon Professional, it is necessary to develop personal relationships with my clients. In order to provide the best services, best education, and best treatments, knowing the client  and their needs is key. 
    Also, clients/customers are smart. If you are not genuine with your clients, they will see that.
    Helping a client reach a goal or fill a need with a product is different than pushing a sale just to make a sale. 
    Thanks for the insights!

  6. CicelyPlusModel July 10, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Awesome article! «@CarlaYoung Small Business Success: What We Can Learn from a Good HairStylist via @PamMktgNut»

  7. Brasilweb3 July 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

    @markwschaefer @PamMktgNut Nice

  8. Alicia Williams July 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

    This article was very enlightening. I too am a hair stylist and while I have most of Heathers business qualities, there is always room to grow. I was just thinking this morning about ways for myself and business to evolved to the next level. Thanks!!!!

  9. JohnAguiar July 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    @lorimcneeartist @FamousBloggers @hishaman @mmonetwork @TheRedheadRiter @MJGottlieb @dragonblogger Thank U All for the RTs 🙂 #moneydummy

    • MJGottlieb July 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      @JohnAguiar YES SIR YOU GOT IT JP! 🙂

  10. Ed Kish July 11, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Hey Pam, I love how you sort of highlighted the fact that we could learn a lot from the success(sometimes even the lack of) of other people.

  11. PamMktgNut July 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    @DeniseWakeman thanks for the share Denise! How ya beee?

    • DeniseWakeman July 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      @pammktgnut you’re welcome…love your articles…blog on!

  12. MediaWizardz July 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    RT @socialsavvygeek: Small Business Success: What We Can Learn from a Good HairStylist via @PamMktgNut Great post!

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